Monday, 13 September 2010


Zizzy written by Penny Matthews, illustrated by Danny Snell (Omnibus Books for Scholastic Aust)
HB large format RRP $26.99
Recommended for 3+ years
Reviewed by Dawn Meredith

Having just recently watched, transfixed, some youtube videos of baby sloths I eagerly opened this book to read about Zizzy. Sloths are dreamy and slow and have the most appealing eyes. They bring out the mothering instinct in everyone, men included!

Zizzy lives in a lush rainforest and spends a lot of time hanging upside down, snoozing and dreaming. One day he sees a patch of blue in the distance and wonders what it is. A green parrot tells him it is the sea and the place where the sun rises. She insists that Zizzy should check it out, but Zizzy is daunted by the journey. Sloths don’t travel far. “You don’t know what you can do until you try,” says the bird and offers to show him the way.

It takes Zizzy a very long time to travel through the rainforest and finally to see the ocean. Sloths have weak spaghetti-like legs that don’t support their weight on the ground. Eventually Zizzy gets to sit on the sand of a vast beach and watch the sun come up. The world turns to gold and a thought crystalises in his head. He makes his way back to the rainforest where he dreams he can do absolutely anything, even fly through in the air - with frogs!

I love Snell’s illustrations. He has captured the essence of sloth features and his rendition of the rainforest is deep, dark and mysterious with comical touches. Armadillos watch Zizzy come down from his trees. A frog sits on his head as he snoozes. An anteater watches his progress to the edge of the rainforest. Zizzy is the cuddliest thing on the planet!

Dawn Meredith is a May Gibbs Fellow for 2010 and writes from the Blue Mountains.

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